The Hungarian Uprising 1956

Hungary was a country in Eastern Europe and a member of the Warsaw Pact.

Causes of the uprising

The Soviet Union (USSR) wanted to keep control of Eastern Europe to create a buffer zone between itself and Western Europe.

Statue of Stalin torn down during the Hungarian Revolution
Statue of Stalin torn down during the Hungarian Revolution

The Warsaw Pact meant that the USSR controlled Hungarian foreign policy.

Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, made a ‘Secret Speech’ in February 1956 which criticised the previous Soviet leader, Stalin. This encouraged Hungary to try and get rid of their pro-Stalinist leaders.

There were shortages of food and fuel in Hungary in 1956.

Events during the uprising

23 Oct 1956A student and workers' demonstration in Budapest demands democracy, freedom from the USSR and freedom of speech. Members of the AVO (secret police) are killed, Soviet statues torn down and communists attacked.
24 Oct 1956Soviet troops and tanks enter Budapest. Twelve Hungarians are killed and many more injured. Imre Nagy, a less extreme leader, replaces Erno Gero as Prime Minister.
28 Oct 1956Soviet tanks are withdrawn from Budapest. Protesters still want to get rid of the Communist Party and leave the Warsaw Pact.
1 Nov 1956Nagy announces that Hungary will hold democratic elections and leave the Warsaw Pact.
4 Nov 1956Khrushchev sends the Red Army back into Hungary and Budapest. Hungarian citizens clash with Soviet troops in Budapest.

The importance of the uprising

  • Approximately 3,000 Hungarians were killed.
  • Approximately 200,000 fled abroad and became refugees.
  • Nagy was forced to resign and attempted to flee to Yugoslavia. The USSR replaced him with Janos Kadar.
  • Nagy was captured and executed.